Former U.S. Representative Mark Schauer ended months of speculation Tuesday morning by declaring on Facebook and Twitter that he was running for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2014.
Schauer’s announcement on both social media platforms read, “I’m in! Today I’m announcing my campaign for governor. I’m ready to run, I’m ready to work & I’m ready to win.”
His declaration came as no surprise. Last Friday, the Detroit Free Press reported that Schauer was expected to announce his decision about running as early as this week.
It also came after weeks of encouragement and endorsements from potential rivals for the Democratic nomination as well as Schauer’s former colleagues in Congress. At the beginning of May, Michigan Board of Education President John Austin and former U.S. Representative Bart Stupak both endorsed Schauer. Just last week, Michigan State Representative Vicki Barnett followed suit. All three had considered running for the Democratic nomination for Governor.
Their endorsements were followed by a letter from all the current Democratic members of Michigan’s congressional delegation urging Schauer to run and offering their support in advance. Schauer served with all of them except Dan Kildee when he represented Michgan’s Seventh District, which includes most of the rural parts of Washtenaw County, from 2009-2011.
Schauer wasted no time in attacking Governor Snyder’s record. Within a half hour of declaring his candidacy, Schauer tweeted, “Rick Snyder has taken Michigan in the wrong direction – cutting schools & raising taxes on seniors.” A half hour later, he continued the attack with “Snyder just doesn’t get it. It’s time to start protecting Michigan’s middle class.”
In contrast, Schauer tweeted that Michigan needed “an economy that works for everyone — not just the wealthy and not just the special interests.”
Schauer saw rapid growth in his support on his campaign’s Facebook page. By noon, about three hours after declaring his candidacy, his page had 1,000 likes. At 3:26 P.M, his page hit 2,000 likes. Between 10:00 P.M and 11:00 P.M. it passed 3,000 likes. Just before midnight, it exceeded 3,500.
Schauer began his political career as a member of the Battle Creek City Commission from 1994 to 1996. He then served six years representing Battle Creek and adjacent parts of Calhoun County in the Michigan House of Representatives. He served six more years in the Michigan Senate representing Calhoun County and adjacent portions of Jackson County. He spent the last two as Minority Leader before running for the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating incumbent Tim Walberg in 2008. He lost the seat to Walberg in 2010 in a rematch that featured massive outside spending on behalf of the Republican.
After leaving office, Schauer worked with the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. He also helped his wife Christine with her successful campaign for Calhoun County Treasurer in 2012.
Schauer also participated in the protests against Right to Work in December 2012, being among those hit by pepper spray.
In response, Snyder spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press that Snyder was “focused on sound policy” and “will continue to make the long overdue, tough decisions that will help keep our state moving forward and building a strong future for all.”
Republican Governors Association Executive Director Phil Cox was even more direct and confident. In a statement quoted by the Washington Post, he dismissed Schauer’s candidacy, saying “Voters have rejected Schauer’s out-of-touch agenda before and will do so again in 2014.”